Posted by: zebe912 | November 2, 2008

When wool won’t shrink (and you want it to)

Last weekend, we did a whole bunch of fall things, as you can see by scrolling down.  One of those things, I said I’d blog about later:  “Lastly, I’m trying to felt a wool sweater so I can make a hat.  That post will come once I get done boiling the sweater on the stove. ”  So here’s the scoop.

Last winter I found a cute pair of brown heels on sale which my ankles will only tolerate because they are Sofft brand with arch support.

The first time I wore them, they made me think of 1920’s era clothing, probably because of the  flower accent on the straps.  This summer I found a dress on clearance, I think for $8 at a boutique (that I’m usually afraid will charge me just to walk in the door), which was close enough to the dress I pictured in my head that could go with the shoes.

Fast forward to Halloween:  I still hadn’t found a reason to wear the dress, or the shoes again for that matter.  We  just don’t dress up to go out (read: husband hates it), and if I wear a skirt to work, it MUST be long (since I crawl on the floor with kids) and heels don’t work when you are carrying musical instruments from classroom to classroom like a pack mule all day (and have already endured two ankle surgeries).  I wanted a “just in case we get invited somewhere” costume and realized that I could just be a 1920’s girl for Halloween.  At least the outfit would get one wearing that way.  I felt I was missing something if it was going to be a costume.

So I did a little research and discovered that a hat was what I wanted.  I knew I couldn’t afford to buy the one I really liked on Etsy (maybe minus the fans), and I didn’t figure it would get here in time anyway. So I decided to make one.  I searched knitting patterns, but knew I didn’t have time to finish & felt one the “normal” way.  My knitting skills just aren’t that polished yet.

Instead, I felted a sweater and made a hat out of that.  $4.23 at the Salvation Army for a chocolate brown wool sweater, a futile run through the washing machine, at least a half hour boiling on the stove to felt it down,  and a few mock ups made with fleece scraps, and here’s my brown wool cloche hat.  My mock ups started out sort of a heart shape because it was a Vneck sweater and I thought I could get away with only one seam that way.  But it was a little too Peter Pan like for my taste.  After a few trials, I ended up with matching bell-shaped pieces that got sewn together and turned right side out.  (Go figure that “cloche” translates to “bell”. Duh.)

If I’d had more time, I would have lined it, and it really needed to be stiffer (I tried, but it just wouldn’t shrink more.  Go figure. ) so I could shape the back brim better (the ribbon is supposed to sit along the brim, but it’s sort of just floating as it is.  But for a first try both felting, and hat making, and a quick effort at that, I am pleased.  I can tweak this one, or try again.  I’d still really like to knit one and then felt it so that I don’t have the side seams throwing things off.  I also want to make some sort of flower accent that resembles the shoes.

We also, never wound up with a party to go to, so it was good that I didn’t spend all kinds of time trying to create or find a perfect hat, because it wouldn’t have been worn except into a tiny bar where I was one of 3 people dressed up at all in the whole place.  I didn’t even bother with make up because we weren’t really going anywhere.  I had it on only because I had gone through the effort of making the hat and I thought it deserved to be worn.  I even had to change in the parking lot since we’d been traveling.  I do wish I had a little better photos though.  A wrap, some gloves, and jewelry would have been a nice touch too.  I hope the rest of you who made costumes (or parts of them) had better venues in which to show them off!



  1. Very cute! I’m glad that you wore it if only for you. 🙂

  2. Omg adorable costume! Love those shoes…

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